INTERVIEW with Tatiana Homolayová Hanzelová


This year, the most of visitors of the exhibition votes for unique underpaintings on glass. The winner of the PUBLIC AWARD is slovak artist Tatiana Homolayová Hanzelová.

We talked with her about this old and beautiful paintings technique and not only about it. You can now read her answers full of poetry and love for art.

What was your path to the art?

Art touched me since I was a child, mainly through my family. My grandfather on my mother's side was artistically gifted and devoted a certain part of his life to oil painting. My mother's sister also inherited this talent, she had painting as a hobby, and as a child I also admired her oil paintings. My father's sisters worked like teachers and they were great art lovers, they had a great influence on me, so from them I absorbed not only love and knowledge of visual arts, but also of music. Well, I was probably born with a passion for painting , because it was naturally for me constantly occupy myself with drawing or sketching. I compensated all moods and experiences through artistic expression not only by drawing, but also by modeling or creating fairy-tale creatures and animals from various materials.

It's amazing to have such an artistic background from your family. And how do you perceive naive art?

For me, it is the space in which I found myself, which is the right home for my soul, for expressing myself through the art... because in naive art I find authentic sincerity and purity, spontaneity and joy of life, a world of fairy-tale supernatural, where scenes from ordinary life can connect with dreamlike ones, where the fantasy world allows you to fly and it is not limited by reality. In modern art, I often see, the author has a strong need to be original, exceptional, provocative at all costs, they want to shock, stirr up emotions, unfortunately, just the negative ones. I often find works that speaks not to the viewer, but it is only a compensation of the stuck emotions of the author. I think that nothing like that occurs in naive art and cannot be found. Naive artist wants to share exactly what is positive in the life, what is joyful, humorous, encouraging, clean, soothing, artist wants to tell about his stories that heal the soul. For me, naive art is special but very authentic celebration of the harmony of life in its various forms.


Painting, or better underpainting on glass is a difficult technique. Could you describe to us how it is work?

Underpainting on glass is an art technique where the painting process is completely opposite to classical painting on paper or canvas. Picture is painted on one side of the glass, but the result is visible on the opposite side, after turning glass over. This means that the painter has to start with all small details and complete the scene first, then gradually put colors and the backroud is the final fase. In classical painting it starts with the background and ends with small details. It is difficult to "reprogram" painter´s head, so the beginnings are really not easy, but as soon as the technique gets "under the skin", it goes naturally and without difficulties. This technique is also time-consuming, every detail and surface must dry, nothing can be rushed, because wet colors could sink into each other and mix. With this technique you can also excercise your imagination very well, because you have to think everything in advance and "to do on first time". This is because that repairs can only be done at the initial stage, not later. This is disantvantig of this technique. In the past, underpaintings were painted with tempera mixed with egg yolk, and the final painting was preserved with beeswax diluted with tempertine oil. I use the traditional tempera, today it is mixed with dispersion glue instead of egg yolk. And for final preservation i sused a special varnish for artistic painting.

Do you have any advice for those who would like to try painting on glass?

I have an encouragement. If they like to paint, they should definitely try to learn this very interesting technique. They will discover how glass is able to bring vibrancy and radiance to colors, to set off gold and silver to such an extent that it seems as if they are shining from the picture. How even the simplest painting comes to life and the glass transforms it into a piece of jewelry. We say underpaintings are like a cut diamond. And I only encourage everyone who has the desire and determination to continue in this very old tradition of underpainting on glass and pass it on to the next generations.

Thank you very much for the interview and we look forward to more beautiful paintings on glass.

We wish you a wonderful Advent.

Photo: author